The 2020 Olympics is back, and this time it’s going to be in Tokyo, Japan! The theme of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is sustainability and all the preparations done are aimed at operating in a more sustainable way. The Olympics is expected to revive and boost the Japanese economy as an expected influx of 40 million people would be visiting Japan in conjunction with Olympic Games year. 20% of these visitors will be Muslims, which means the demand for halal products will see a sharp increase all over Japan, as Muslims only consume halal products. Halal products are not just limited to food and beverages, but also includes cosmetics, personal hygiene products and more.
One of the issues faced by 2020 Olympics is the provision of food to cater for such a high volume of tourists. The food prepared for the Olympics must meet the global Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standards, and currently, only 4% of the production in Japan match GAP standards. This problem is also heightened by the shortage of halal food that is needed to cater to the Muslims in Tokyo.
How would this issue be resolved, so that the Olympics would be more inclusive and a success? Cue Keith Wong, founder and CEO of Acrosx Japan Inc., a Japanese tech company. Keith Wong is a Malaysian who has been living in Japan for over 20 years, and has fully assimilated himself in the culture and country. He is also the only non-Japanese on the Tokyo Olympics committee, and he aims to penetrate the Japanese halal market by bringing Malaysia into the picture. Since Malaysia is one of the leading halal hubs, Keith Wong aims to bridge the gap between the two countries and introduce Malaysian halal products for the upcoming Olympics and subsequently into the Japanese market permanently.
Many parties would be involved in this venture, which includes the Malaysian and Japanese government, JAKIM, UKM, and local SMEs. There would be bilateral efforts in halal training, halal lab testing between the two countries. With this in motion, Malaysian halal standards will be introduced in Japan and other countries, via the Olympics! Local businesses in Malaysia are also given the opportunity to join the venture as a means of bolstering our local economy. By creating halal products that is molded to Japanese taste and standards, SMEs can organically achieve global recognition for their products!
This collaboration between the two countries will kill two birds with one stone. For Japan, the Olympics food shortage will be resolved, and halal market will see further development, potentially raking in more Muslim tourists even after the Olympics! For Malaysia, local SMEs are given the opportunity to penetrate the global market, and our reputation as the one of the leading halal hubs will be strengthened, with the help of Japanese infrastructure and technology! With such a collaboration in place, it is certain that Malaysian-Japanese bilateral ties will be stronger than ever with both countries benefitting in numerous ways.